Yesterday I jumped out of a plane and fell towards the planet at 120mph in free fall. It was amazing.
For those of you tempted to do a skydive, do it. For those of you who don’t think you could do it, feel the fear and do it anyway. It is honestly the most exhilarating and majestic things you could ever do, and once you have done it you will want to do it again.
I will try to tell you about my experience as best I can but I warn you it will probably sound a bit like a story book because I don’t want to miss out any details! Scroll down for photos, and a video when I work out how..
I awoke yesterday morning slightly hungover. Piece of advice number 1, dont do this. Going out on wednesday night was a brilliant idea at the time, but skydiving on 3 hours sleep and a hungover belly wasn’t. On the other hand I have proved it is still doable!
I got to the airfield at 9:30am for check in, where we were briefed, told how position yourself as you fall, and genrally made to feel confident! The tandem parachute instructors must have carried out a minimum of 800 solo jumps, been rigorously tested mentally and physically, and carry out regular inspections every few years for them to be allowed to be an tandem dive instructor, so you are in safe hands!
It took about 20 minutes to get up to 12,000ft in the small aircraft. I don’t know if it was because my hangover had numbed my senses, or that I was genuinely too excited, but the nerves didn’t really hit me until I saw the other divers in the plane jump out the like rag dolls. And by this time it was too late, I too was falling out the door of the plane, 12,000 ft up in the sky, like a rag doll.
The first thing my instructor told me to do when I left the plane is yell. So that’s what I did, a lot. It is so so easy to forget to breathe as you leave, the temperature is -4 degrees up there, and you fall so fast it instantly takes your breath away so screaming stops this! As you fall, the wind literally tears past you. It does dry your mouth out a bit, but thats mostly because mine was open all the way, screaming…
You fall through the air for 40 seconds. If you were going at this speed when you jumped off the top of The Shard, it would take you 1 second to hit the ground! Then suddenly, the roar of the wind stops, and it goes silent. This is when the parachute goes up and you can really start to take in what is around you and were you are.
It is a really strange feeling to describe, but it is like you are weightless and floating in the air. After I had finished laughing, my instructor honnestly said to me “Lets go walking through the clouds” and we did, literally. It was like walking though steam. One of the highlights of the jump was coming out one cloud, to see a small fully circular rainbow on the cloud below us, with our shadow in the middle of it. But unfortunately there was not pot of gold.
I was given control of the parrachute and told to pull down as hard as I could on the left side, as I did so the parachute began to turn faster and faster until we dropped out the sky, before I spun it back by pulling the other handle. It was very fun.
We continued to float down in the parachute, doing various turns and looking at the view. I could see the coast, and apparently on a good day you can see london from higher up. Then we landed in the field below.
I really don’t even think my description has done the jump justice, you just have to do it for yourself. One of the best things is the adrenaline rush, once you hit the floor you cant stop smiling for hours. You laugh at everything, and words come out your mouth without even thinking about them.
While the skydive was one of the best experiences ever, I wasn’t just doing it for fun. I was raising money for the J’s hospice, a local charity which provides hospice and respite care to 18-40 year olds with life threatening conditions. It is a great charity who do so much, so far I have raised over £250 but I am still collecting so if anyone wishes to donate the website is here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/bronyaskydives
If not, then you should organise your own jump and raise some money for charity yourself! I know I keep saying it but it really is AMAZING.
For those of you who worry about the parachute not opening, the instructors jump with a 300 square ft parachute, and a back up parachute if the first one isn’t good enough or doesn’t open. There is also a computer in the kit which measures the pressure, height and speed which you are falling, if for some reason they are unable to release the parachute, the computer does it for them! So in my mind, the chances of continuing towards earth at 120mph were too slim to worry about!!